Not even a spring storm could keep College Point residents from slowing their fight against the men’s homeless shelter slated to go up in their neighborhood this September.
Hundreds of members of the College Points Residents Coalition (CPRC) along with local politicians gathered in front of City Hall on Friday afternoon seeking “solutions not shelters.” Despite the wet April weather, ralliers remained steadfast with continuous chants urging the city to rethink the decision to establish a shelter at 127-03 20th Ave.
College Point Civic and Taxpayer Association President Michael Niebauer said that solutions included facilities that included comprehensive care for individuals that shelters may not be able to provide.
“They could set up support facilities. They need mental health [facilities], addiction services, social services and general love and affection,” Niebauer said.
However, the Department of Homeless Services detailed the services that the 200 men residing at the shelter would receive through their non-profit social services provider Westhab. Among these services are health and mental services, vocational training, employment placement and GED instruction.
State Senator John Liu commended College Point residents for braving the elements to get to City Hall.
“This sends a very strong message to the mayor and to the city council that people care about the community,” Liu said. “Look who’s here, we have mothers, we have fathers, we have grandparents, we have our future.”
“While we understand that there’s a homeless problem in the city of New York, there are proper places to put shelters and there are places where shelters do not belong. And they certainly don’t belong in the middle of six schools where thousands of our children [go to school,]” Liu added.
Liu and a representative from Councilman Paul Vallone’s office promised to continue advocating for College Point residents until the city heard the community’s voices.
“The most important thing is unity. If we have unity we can get the best result for the community,” Liu said.
The April 26 demonstration was the second time College Pointers made their voices heard at City Hall. The first was back in January of this year.